Leader comment: Mental health investment must be just a first step

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We have made huge progress as a society when it comes to discussing mental health problems.

Issues such as depression and anxiety that were only recently considered taboo are now openly talked about in a way that previous generations would find staggering. That has helped many more people find the confidence to seek help for problems that would previously have gone undiagnosed.

The NHS though has been slow to react to these wider changes with investment in mental health services failing to keep pace with the growing demand. Earlier this autumn the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland warned that despite a huge increase in patient lists the number of psychiatrists employed by the NHS north of the Bordeer has risen by just four in the past five years.

There is still a huge gulf between the way physical and mental health services are viewed.

That is the background against which the Scottish Government’s announcement of an extra £500,000 for mental health services comes. The investment has to be warmly welcomed, but it needs to be the first step in a long process, rather than being seen as a solution.